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The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) new SheInvest initiative aims to raise €1-billion to invest in innovative digital solutions and financial products in Africa for women and girls, who are often excluded from such services.
The initiative was launched simultaneously at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg and the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg on Tuesday (12 November).
The EIB said in a statement on Tuesday that the initiative should increase women’s economic opportunities and social inclusion.
Investments under the SheInvest initiative will be guided by the 2x Challenge criteria
SheInvest also aims to promote gender-responsive climate financing, EIB added.
Investment will therefore target climate and gender responsive infrastructure projects, such as projects enhancing women’s access to water, clean, reliable and affordable energy, as well as sustainable public transport.
The EIB said investments under the initiative will be guided by the 2X Challenge criteria that the bank has adopted to increase the impact of its financing for gender equality and women economic empowerment in developing countries.
EIB vice president in charge of development operations Ambroise Fayolle said unlocking the potential of women is key to boosting Africa’s economic growth.
Fayolle pointed out that in several African countries many women still lack access to basic services and are excluded from the financial and labour markets, making them unable to contribute fully to their continent’s development.
“As the bank of the European Union, we are committed to deliver on gender equality and are proud to be backing this important mission through the new SheInvest initiative,” he added.
Dedicated technical assistance
The EIB said it will build on its experience in Africa as well as in gender-focused lending to step up efforts to further invest in projects, sectors and markets that have a “transformative effect” on gender equality and can increase the capacity of women and girls to participate in the economy and labour market.
In addition, the bank said dedicated technical assistance will provide capacity building and mentoring to women entrepreneurs so that they can better access finance and will support intermediaries in designing financial products that are tailored to their needs.
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